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Copper Photon Box

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Picture of Copper Photon Box
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CuBox.JPG
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An enclosure made of two interlocking half sections of o.032" double sided copper PCB material houses a sensitive microsecond integrating circuit operating just above the resistor background Johnson noise level.

This instructable is about making a shielded copper box.

ELECTRONIC Brief
A photon from a rare photo multiplier tube feeds a narrow pimple pulse into the single input gold BNC connector.
Inside the double electrostatic shield resides a +- regulated supply see the last two pictures and the delicate electronics high speed video amplifier / integrator construction in progress.
The noise generating LEDs come on long after electronic photon integration is complete and differing output signals were sent to the silver BNC connectors.  LEDs are to indicate signal processing success of critical stages which may or may not happen.

CONSTRUCTING a Copper Metal Shield Box
Substrate :
The PCB material was easily sliced with a big paper cutter into the shapes for the outside six sides.  Then place together four sides and tab solder inside edges for a preliminary fit.  Making sure the large base plate see pictures 1 & 2 the top and pictures 3 & 4 the bottom is square with each side. 

If a side is off (not square) you can un-solder all but one of the tabs which lets you easily flex the material to square on the loose end and tab solder it in place. Now un-solder the last one tab and see the side easily square-up.  Tab solder this end add several more tabs for a good hold.

Place the short sides in square position and tab solder them in place This is the circuit attach copper substrate for the electronic fast video amplifiers.

Cover :
Solder tab the remaining cover plate and side see 3d picture and test fit. Trim the in sides and solder tab to a snap fit.

Close Edges :
Begin solder runs from tab to tab. This is IMPORTANT, Do Not make a continuous solder run (it can buckle your box) as the solder shrinks on cooling.
Instead solder between every other or farther tabs so you have dispersed solder run sections (much like a car wheel bolt tightening sequence).
Ultimately the inside copper should be full continuous solder run.

About Solder :
Hospitals, the military and I hate lead free solder it cracks, it ages it is Bad News.  Avoid it unless you have to sell to government protected consumers.

Install Battery sockets :
Layout the battery component position and mount it see picture four.  Avoid shorting the outside to inside shield by copper rim removal. I use an ohm meter to verify.
Cut and prepare a battery and regulator shield to the cover see picture three.

Input / Output :
Finally decide on your intended circuit real world connections and drill some holes for access.  It is best not to short the shields with a connector body.

Almost Done :
You can use a 6-32 hex-long-nut to soldered into corners to latch the cover, see the last picture.

NOW :
You can place or build your electronics in the shielded copper box...



onrust2 years ago
The beauty of that box simply warms my heart. Great soldering tips!
iceng (author)  onrust2 years ago
Thanks for that, I had great teachers.

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Goodhart3 years ago
Thanks for the reminder of something I did (a LONG time ago) / experienced with the "long solder run" which you warn against (and I had forgotten about). I was soldering a metal box about the size of a shoe box and the thing nearly destroyed itself. The metal shop teacher hadn't any experience in what had happened either. :-)
Goodhart3 years ago
Oh this looks wonderfully "modifiable" and usable too. I am way to good at accidentally building AM radios when I don't want them :-)
iceng (author)  Goodhart3 years ago
Yea, antennas sprout everywhere :-o
Especially near a warfare air force test range.
Thanks for the nice comment.

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Goodhart iceng3 years ago
:-) about 10 or so years ago when we had an AM/FM station "Downtown", not more then 1/4 mile away.....just plugging something into the mains, could get you the news LOL
iceng (author)  Goodhart3 years ago
When I lived in Cicero ( suburb of Chicago ) planning to maybe attend DeVry.
There was a blurb about a 24/7 loudspeaker radio in someones attic 2 doors
away from a transmitting AM station :-)
Those were the days :-|

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Goodhart iceng3 years ago
LOL ah yes. I remember the first "digital" voice recorder I built around a Radio shack chip (that they no longer carry) and the voice of the radio announcer was louder then my recorded voice :-) One learns about "filters" really quickly in cases like this (I had to learn it all the hard way; I couldn't afford schooling and I got interested in electronics a bit late in life; so I did a lot of reading and building things that didn't work, in order to learn). BUT it was all fun :-)

Neat work of course !

Bob Pease of National Semi. is a great devotee of this construction method.

Its rather pretty too. !
I had, at one time, a stack of articles from Bob (most of them with the title starting with: "What's All This...." (Electronic Design), and even conversed (by letter) with him on one of his more "devious" circuits :-)

I loved his design puzzles.... 
iceng (author)  steveastrouk3 years ago
Thanks, it is fun to build.
I read a lot of Bob's output.
This, was picked-up from an old friend.
I agree with you about the lead free solder...60/40 rosin core has never done me wrong...as long as you clean it off the board after soldering it lasts a long time. I never really liked the no-clean solder much either.
iceng (author)  Swishercutter3 years ago
Been using 60/40 hasn't harmed me in 47 yrs.
Also used the 5 core solder from England whenever I could find it.

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poofrabbit3 years ago
I don't have a clue what this does, however it looks really cool, well crafted, and by golly it's sort of pretty. I also noticed you your support on boards. So I had to check out what you entered for the I made it contest. I threw a vote your way and gave ya five stars. Looks awesome, just wish I was more tech/electronic savy to understand, you gave great directions!
iceng (author)  poofrabbit3 years ago
Thanks for the very nice comment. I did a tiny job for a university research into light propagation.
Had a vote left, gave it to you, liked your red bird on green vine.

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